IHC rules PML-N leader is acquitted as NAB fails to present evidence of her role in purchasing London properties n Justice Kayani remarks opinion of investigating officer can’t be considered as evidence n Justice Farooq says a property being in a daughter’s name doesn’t necessarily mean it is owned by the father n Safdar also cleared.

ISLAMABAD    -   The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday acquitted Vice Presi­dent of Pakistan Mus­lim League – Nawaz (PML-N) Maryam Nawaz and her hus­band Captain (Retd) Muhammad Safdar in the Avenfield corrup­tion reference.

A two-member bench of IHC comprising Jus­tice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted hearing of appeals of Maryam Nawaz and her husband Safdar against their conviction in the reference. The IHC bench accepted their appeals after four years when Maryam and Saf­dar were convicted in July 2018 in the Avenfield Apartments corruption reference.

In its short order, the court said, “For the rea­sons to be recorded lat­er, the instant appeal is al­lowed and the judgment dated 6-7-2018 is set aside to the extent of ap­pellant namely Maryam Nawaz; consequently, the conviction awarded is set aside and above-named appellant is acquitted of the charges against her in Reference No. 20/2017.” 

Maryam Nawaz was sentenced eight-year jail along with a fine of Rs335 million in the Avenfield Apartment reference by the accountability court and Muhammad Safdar has been given one-year sentence without any fine.

Then, Maryam Nawaz and Muhammad Safdar filed appeals against their sentences in the Aven­fieled reference before the IHC and it was prayed that this court may be pleased to set-aside the impugned judgment, con­viction and sentence dat­ed awarded to the appel­lants by the accountability court Islamabad and they may be acquitted of all the charges framed against them in the reference.

During the hearing, Maryam’s lawyer Amjad Pervaiz and NAB pros­ecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi appeared before the court and Abbasi in­formed the bench that special NAB prosecutor Usman Cheema is not feel­ing well. He requested the court to adjourn the hear­ing but the bench asked him to present arguments.

When Abbasi was read­ing from the case record, Justice Kayani remarked that the opinion of the in­vestigating officer could not be considered as evi­dence. He added that the joint investigation team did not present any fact, it just collected information.

Abbasi said that Wajid Zia, former director of the Feder­al Investigation Agency, had overviewed the documents himself and expressed his opinion on it. He continued that he would show from the documents that these prop­erties were purchased in 1999. The bench observed that the NAB prosecutor’s statements were contra­dictory and the NAB pros­ecutor had said on the pre­vious hearing that Maryam had no role in purchasing the properties.